Arsene Wenger has cast doubts over midfielder Santi Cazorla’s return from injury. The Spaniard got a kick on his achilles during the midweek’s Champions League win over Ludogorets and was substituted early in the second half.
Next day, the player himself suggested that the injury is not that serious and he should be OK for our game against Middlesbrough.
“I have a pain in the tendon,” Cazorla told IBTimes.
“I got a kick in the first half [against Ludogorets] and during the second I still had some pain so, with the result in our favour, the boss decided to give me a rest.
“It was good to recover for Saturday.”
However, Wenger’s prognosis of the injury was not that encouraging in his pre-match conference. The Frenchman labelled the midfielder a doubt for the game on Saturday.
‘The only uncertainty I have is Santi Cazorla who got a kick,’ the Frenchman said.
‘He will be assessed today.’
Eventually, the Spaniard failed to make our squad for the Boro, and it proved to be costly for us as the lack of creativity blunted our attack in the goalless draw at Emirates Stadium. The draw against the Boro put an end to our six-game winning run, and it very clearly illustrated how important Cazorla is to our ambitions this season.
Following the game, there was no clear update from Wenger on the player’s injury and the player still remains a doubt for the games this week.
“Cazorla – I don’t really know because we have to see how he recovers on Monday and Giroud could be in the squad on Tuesday night. We have a game on Tuesday night here, so maybe he will be available to be in the squad on Tuesday,” Wenger told Arsenal’s official website.
Surely, there is no need to risk Cazorla for the midweek League Cup game against Reading City, but his return would be a huge boost for our trip to Sunderland if he is not out for three months like last season that’s. Personally, I hold a big fear that we could be missing the Spaniard for several weeks.
Granit Xhaka will remain suspended for the trip to Stadium of Light while Aaron Ramsey could return on Saturday, but he is more likely to feature from the bench after such a lengthy absence due to his hamstring injury.
Following the game against Sunderland, we have quite difficult back-to-back games against Tottenham and Man Utd, so we need to make sure that we pick up three points on Saturday and go into those games high with confidence. Having Cazorla back for those games will be extremely important as there is simply no one who is as good as him in our team at the moment.
There was a clear frustration among the fanbase following the draw with Middlesbrough as we quite typically once again let slip the opportunity to clear at the top of the table.
It’s turning out to be a very tight race at the top of the table, and we can’t afford to drop points against relatively smaller teams like Middlesbrough and Sunderland.